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Do you think Lawrence is one of the 100 best communities for young people?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on September 27, 2005

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Photo of Rich Yeakel

“Absolutely, because of the great downtown, local businesses and the university.”

Photo of David Hardy

“I would say that it is, if you like to go out. We have a good downtown area, but that’s about it.”

Photo of Charlene Schlotzhauer

“Yes. It’s just wonderful. It’s open and diverse. People can learn and grow. It’s a place where people can really express themselves.”

Photo of Kristen Van Saun

“Yes. It has a good nightlife scene. I think the student community makes it a lot more fun for young people.”

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Jayhawk226 12 years, 4 months ago

Funny, I thought kids were banned by the city council long ago...

Lulu 12 years, 4 months ago

Lawrence is a wonderful city for youth. Why just yesterday I met some youths that have been staying in Lawrence all summer. They told me they liked Lawrence because it is progressive and the people tolerated their way of life.

Though these kids were in their mid to late teens, they felt safe living downtown. The three I spoke with were on a walkabout across the country. I did feel a little sorry for them because their normal winter home down south had been ravaged by the Bush hurricanes. They were to embark on a journey to Arizona.

To be young again!

trinity 12 years, 4 months ago

oh. dear. god. "Bush hurricanes"??? i'm-i'm-i'm just at a loss.

so, what comes with the designation of being a top 100 place for youth? money? prestige? oh wait i have it-pompous arrogance!

i find it just wicked amusing that the people on the street seemed to have not understood the question at all! i've come to realize that my now-grown children missed out by living in a smallish town that they could play outside all over the neighborhood in relative safety, walk to the movies by themselves, have backyard tent slumber parties, rollerblade in the street...they're gonna feel so cheated if they find out i should have brought them to lawrence so they could experience nightlife! heh...

KsjKC 12 years, 4 months ago

Children aren't banned in Lawrence per se'--but if you see a minor sitting near a restaurant with a Marlboro and a Motorola---Yikes. No intelligent design for that trouble-maker, just the natural evolution of what happens in prison...

I'm not sure some of the "on-the-street" respondents really got the question. I know that when my kids attended the really fantastic head-start downtown, we often hung out near the Granada on Friday nights so my pre-schoolers could soak up some nightlife...

enochville 12 years, 4 months ago

It depends on your criteria for best community for young people. The article seem to define young people as pre-high school graduate, yet the "On the Street" responders talked about the nightlife and "going out". I don't see an abundance of bars as particularly good for teens and pre-teens. The article focused on social services as well, which I feel is good and important, but what I feel is most important is things for young people to do.

I am glad we have the Art Center, two public swimming pools, two bowling alleys, a lazer tag place, a skate park, frisbee golf park, several baseball and soccer fields, basketball courts, museums, the Lied Center, Allen Fieldhouse and two movie theatres. I've heard that there is a miniture golf place on K10 just east of town. These things show that we value young people. When they have lots of options for a weekend night, it is less likely that they'll get into trouble by being bored.

bankboy119 12 years, 4 months ago

The Bush hurricanes? Yes President Bush hand made the hurricanes to take out New Orleans and the bastion of evil there and his home state to get more funding for Texas. His next target is going to now be Lawrence, Kansas with man made tornadoes so intelligent design can be taught without question. That and because we have uncovered his sinister plot.

neopolss 12 years, 4 months ago

carrying swarms of mountain lions no doubt ...

Our youth has it made - just look at all the roundabouts we have built for them to play on!

KsjKC 12 years, 4 months ago

Just think, right now someone is choking on that sarcasm and confusing it with bran muffin...

KsjKC 12 years, 4 months ago

See? Ack-Ack...

Besides, I thought the weapon was smart-hail, not tornadoes...

bankboy119 12 years, 4 months ago

Oh yeah I kind of forgot to answer the question didn't I...well let's see I grew up in Lawrence and it definitely is not kid friendly at all. Putt-putt closed down, along with the skating rink. Lazer tag was cool in junior high and is now gone actually. The pool is always so ridiculously crowded as soon as my friends and I could drive we went out to Bloomington beach. I will say I have finally moved out of that wretched town about a month ago and I could not be happier. Oh and quality of the schools and all of the restrictions they have on the kids, horrible. I for one will definitely make sure my child never has to live in such a pathetic place.

KsjKC 12 years, 4 months ago


City Commissioner (and my former 9th Grade Teacher) Sue Hack called--she wants your Lawrence Is A Happy Place decoder ring back...

While I may not jump on a "Lawrence Blows Chunks" Band-wagon just yet---The nostalgia for what Lawrence was once like is a tad painful sometimes, in all reality.

hawkrew 12 years, 4 months ago

I don't think that the people on the street had access to the article before they made their comments. Since they seem to all be post bacculate and older, except one, they might have considered youth to be late teens or maybe even early twenties. But anyways, there is a putt putt off of K-10 about five minutes out of town. Lawrence seems to have the same stuff to do that anywhere else has, along with easy access to a lake, which is always a hangout for kids that grow up by one.

craigers 12 years, 4 months ago

I do like Rich's plug for the overpriced downtown merchants. I am wavering on this question. I wil have to agree with bankboy about the skating rink, laser tag, and definitly the putt-putt. Man I loved sinking that hole-in-one when my color of ball was lit up. If anybody else remembers what I am talking about, let's hear it. I got an autograph from Danny Manning at that place on one of their little tickets. He was so tall to me when I was 4 foot 8 inches.(That was an approximation) And they also had batting cages. Now it is Douglas County Bank, what's up with that?

Bankboy be reminded that Lulu's posts are never sane.

Ragingbear 12 years, 4 months ago

I moved to this city about 4 years ago, and fell in love with it almost instantly. Sure, it has it's problems, and it's issues. But what town doesn't?

There is a signifigant amount of diversity,and tolerance for said diversity. Such an environment is healthy for young people of all ages. Whether they are 12, and wondering how people of different religions, different states, or different countries live, or 21 and want to have deep philosophical discussions with people who have lived in a theocratic empire. Throw in a few anarchist to tell them that no law is the best law, and that young person then doesn't have the feeling that they are missing out on something, they got it all.

Yeah, we need to cater more to today's youth. More skate parks, more and better after-school programs, more activities that will keep them occupied, stimulated, and entertained. But I feel that things here could be a lot worse.

If Lawrence is on the top 100, I would have to say that it is probably down in the 60's on this front. But when you measure that out, 60-something is still pretty damn good.

lunacydetector 12 years, 4 months ago

did they pick lawrence because the schools still teach the Donna Shalala "help yourself help yourself" sex class? :)

italianprincess 12 years, 4 months ago

I for one am glad I moved my boys here from Cali. Now the big decision next Feb is to decide to move back. My mom is selling her home here and the family want us to come back with her.

My oldest has had a great life here and I do believe he plans on staying after graduating. He will most likely continue working at the bank while attending KU.

My youngest is doing so awesome at his new school and really wants to stay. Hes eight now and of course doesn't want to leave his new friends.

Raising my boys here instead of in Cali has been a good thing. I think that raising them here instead of in Cali has made them better kids. Not saying Cali is a bad place, I was born and raised there myself. I'm just happy that we moved here so that they weren't subjected to the gang life out there. Gangs are everywhere in Cali and kids are easily influenced. I'm sure there are gangs here in Lawrence, but you just don't see them walking in massive groups.

To me Lawrence is a good place to raise kids. Family vs staying here where I and my kids now have friends is one hard decision to think about. Whats the old saying.......Blood is thicker then water.

lunacydetector 12 years, 4 months ago

for halloween i will be the invisible man. it is an all black outfit from head to toe with little slits for the eye holes.

bankboy119 12 years, 4 months ago

IP I think there are just kids who think they are thugs. That's what I saw going to school here all my life. The trouble was when the gangs came here from KC and T-Town and somebody got shot in Holcom(b) park...and I know there are more examples but that just happened to be where I played baseball at. Which by the way the rec sports leagues and falling apart too so we can spend $50k+ on saw blades and basket ball hoops we call art.

John1945 12 years, 4 months ago

Lawrence is a good town (not a great town, but a good town) for restaurants and I love some of the small shops like Love Garden on Mass Street. Unfortunately, a lot of that is disappearing and Lawrence is becoming a bedroom community for Topeka. To that extent it is losing its college town charm.

However, it is a horrible town for children. It is one thing to explore ideas when you're a college student and see which ones make sense to you, it is quite another thing to use children as research rats while they're growing up.

The thought that children would grow up in what has become such a hateful environment is also troubling.

My vote is no. Lawrence no longer has the charm it used to have.

Lulu 12 years, 4 months ago

The Bush Hurricanes is a theory to extrapolate on something the honorable Louis Farrakhan said recently regarding Bush blowing up the levees.

The weather modification technology is there to create hurricanes, and it wouldn't surprise me if Bush caused the hurricanes like he created 9/11 for his friends in Saudi Arabia.

Is Lawrence still going to legalize pot anytime soon? That will be great in removing the stigma of the negativity towards those who partake in the hannabis and make Lawrence an even better place.

bankboy119 12 years, 4 months ago

"The weather modification technology is there to create hurricanes, and it wouldn't surprise me if Bush caused the hurricanes like he created 9/11 for his friends in Saudi Arabia."


There are no words.

Ceallach 12 years, 4 months ago

All three of my children grew up here in Lawrence. The atmosphere for young people (under 18) has been going downhill for the last 15 or 20 years. As mentioned above, so many of the safe, fun, and inexpensive places for family activities have gone the way of commerce. The land would be more profitable as just about anything not related to the family. Since I have not been to all 99 of the other cities listed, I do not know if Lawrence should be mentioned. I do know that it is a mere shadow of what it once was in the area of providing a rounded community life for youngsters.

btw, I couldn't help but notice that Rich (being a downtown business owner himself) could not resist putting in a plug.

IP: Bummer of a decision. My mother would also like me to move closer to her but my children and grandchildren are here. I agree blood is thicker, but for me no blood is thicker than mine with all my younguns. Your situation is not the same but I am confident that you will make the right decision when the time comes. Just keep the in your bookmarks so that we don't lose you to some rowdy CA crowd :)

rhd99 12 years, 4 months ago

Oh, yes, Lawrence is one of the best communities for young people. Great youth programs, EXCELLENT schools (Damn proud to say we're the ONLY proponents of EVOLUTION in the state of Kansas). Great University, let's face it, great minds think alike. SO WHAT if we are different from any other community in this state? Eat your HEARTS out, Conservatives!

rhd99 12 years, 4 months ago

By the way, Lawrence is one of the best communities & can be WITHOUT BANS.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 4 months ago

I am just laughing until I am drooling all over my keyboard. Funny stuff today!


Linda Aikins 12 years, 4 months ago

Oh, the question. I wish there were more activities for the junior high and high school aged kids - skating rink, putt putt, lazer tag, potato gun ranges, graffiti workshops, body piercing and tattooing days in the park - things like that.

SteelHorseRider 12 years, 4 months ago

You've got to "love" the liberal way we've raced into the future for those of you who remember skating rink and putt-putt. Oh those were the days my friends. Now Lawrence encourages kids in the teenage range to try to grow up too fast.

BTW - KsjKC - loved the "smart hail" comment. Funny stuff. Thanks for making my day.

rhd99 12 years, 4 months ago

Although, if we're talking about the people in their mid 20s-30s, Lawrence does SUCK because the JOBS are not here, that's for sure. There is NO economic base for the high paying jobs, unless you talk about East Hills. That park is a miracle in of itself.

Linda Aikins 12 years, 4 months ago

EM, we anagramed simultaneously. How about them apples! ;)

rhd99 12 years, 4 months ago

Steel, saw your comment on putt-putt. Bet the city commission banned Putt-Putt from ever coming back.

happyone 12 years, 4 months ago

Lawrence is a great city if you are over 21...But, for the preteens and teens Lawrence sucks! There is really nothing for them to do. BRING BACK PUTT PUTT AND FANTASYLAND (the skate rink that is now Kohls)

acg 12 years, 4 months ago

You guys remember the dance club for kids? It was the Power Plant and then Pizazz? I loved that place. There was a lot of stuff for kids to do when we first came here. There were several bowling alleys, the putt putt course, the skating rink, Alladin's Castle arcade, etc. Now they hang out on Mass outside of the bars. No I don't think there's nearly enough for the young'uns to do. We take away all of their activities and then wonder why they run the streets being little hooligans. Speaking of kids, four days overdue now and still no baby. Any ideas ladies of the board? If this kid doesn't come out of me soon I just may kill people.

brfts 12 years, 4 months ago

Lawrence could've been the best town for young adults but this was 15-20 years ago. If you ask me, I think this town is getting crowded with JoCo soccer moms driving their Suvs. It's sad to see all the strip malls and cookie cutter housing thats becoming more common around town. Also, I think the Lawrence political climate is getting just a little bit too conservative for me. Pretty soon Lawrence will be just another boring college town like Lincoln, NE, which is a shame because it's the only livable place left in Kansas.

rhd99 12 years, 4 months ago

brfts, don't forget that in addition to boring, WAY TOO EXPENSIVE. Lawrence, for whatever reason has done NOTHING to make housing affordable, let alone rentable (price wise for appartments). That project next to Borders is a prime example of out of control prices. $300K for a CONDO, that sure is going to drive up housing costs & RIDICULOUS rent rates through the roof. It is a shame, but it's the hard cold reality that people don't want to accept.

hawkrew 12 years, 4 months ago

Hey, a lot of fresh out of college students who are lucky enough to find a job buy those cookie cutter houses. They're not the end of the world. They can't afford to custom build a house and renting is just a waste of money...but then again what do I know?

Ceallach 12 years, 4 months ago

acg: Babies do everything on their own schedule, that is for sure. Another thing that is for sure, the baby is causing less work and mental stress than it will for the next 18 - 20 years:) Prop your feet up, have some chocolate, pat your tummy and enjoy the quiet knowledge that you know exactly where he/she is and that its in good company :):)

bankboy119 12 years, 4 months ago

TOB you're right about the skating wouldn't last now. It doesn't necessarily have to be a putt-putt either but at least something for the kids. They do run the streets like hooligans.

What my friends did in junior high and high school because there was nothing better to do.

  1. Buy burritos from Border Bandito and throw them at an oncoming car to see it splat all over the window.

  2. Steal yard art.

  3. Hide in bushes and throw water balloons at cars that go by.

  4. Call the cops on parties that the other high school was throwing and drinking at and then get mad when the kids at the other school did the same thing to us.

  5. Sneak into movies when the theater was in decent shape.

  6. Throw eggs at the skaters in the skate park.

  7. Hang out in a field and drink.

  8. Drive down a street and have some one hang out a window with a baseball bat and bash mailboxes.

  9. At a rival high school game sling feces down the hallway of the rival school.

  10. Play sports.

italianprincess 12 years, 4 months ago

acg--------go for a long walk daily. Believe me it works wonders.

How long has the skating rink and the mini golf been gone? There really isn't much entertainment here for the younger ones: Castle Park or Camelot ( Cali ) where we used to go as kids. They had everything at Camelot: arcade, mini golf, bumper cars, water park, big trampoline, and more.

It would be nice to see something like this built here in Lawrence.

lunacydetector 12 years, 4 months ago

i think the skating rink was condemned by the city so wal-mart could have an access road and kohl's could get built, and i heard the putt-putt was foreclosed on by a bank so the bank could build a new building there -though i might be wrong.

kansaskev61 12 years, 4 months ago

Lawrence is a great place to grow up. It's where I received a totally liberal education. I can now spout liberal rhetoric, adopt a Socialist lifestyle while paying my fair share of high taxes (most without representation) plus a large percentage of the taxes owed by the "unfortunates" of Lawrence. I can guzzle gas while sitting in traffic and grow dizzy in the roundabouts. I can hope that soon I'll be able to lite up a joint and smoke freely along Mass St or while watching the frogs in the Baker Wetlands. I can't recycle at Walmart, but can embrace the fact that I may or may not have come from either god or ape and know that I am better than anybody else because I am from Lawrence and I attended KU. To be a liberal elite, that's the greatest legacy for any child. Lawrence is a great place to be young because, darn it, Boog say's it is!

beatrice 12 years, 4 months ago

I know I have covered this before, but I'll state it again: Not enough theaters! We should have a putt-putt golf next door to a drive-in theater. Now that would say "we have arrived!"

Johnnyboy: "The thought that children would grow up in what has become such a hateful environment is also troubling." This coming from the guy who last week compared the Democratic party to Hitler's Third Reich. Before commenting on the troubles of a hateful environment, might I suggest you consider your own behavior and how much you personally contribute to said environment -- or are you just too busy torturing puppies to consider your personal role in spreading hate?

beatrice 12 years, 4 months ago

"Douglas County Fairgrounds - ... free. Prairie Park Nature Center - free" Spending the next week trying not to scratch the chigger bites - priceless.

bankboy119 12 years, 4 months ago

Blue the problem with those are that....none of us were interested in the arts at all. We took art classes when we were required but that was about it. Lawrence doesn't have good things for kids to do in the evenings once sports are over. Not something EVERY day but just SOMETHING. Right now there is nothing for some one that isn't into the arts and nature.

lunacydetector 12 years, 4 months ago

drive-in theater was a bust. out on 6th street where sonic, some apartments, the lazer is now.

one thing for sure though, lawrence needs a nice AMC type theater with actual leg room. i'm surprised 6" of leg room theater seating got approved. that place by the incomplete SLT is like a sardine can.

go to an AMC theater in k.c. to see how a REAL theater is designed.

l_eustacy 12 years, 4 months ago

What about the newest form of entertainment in Lawrence - roundabouts? They're a great place to spend quality time with your friends and family. We are so lucky.

lunacydetector 12 years, 4 months ago

but beatrice, how is the democratic party NOT like the 3rd reich? :)

screaming howard dean can motivate a crowd a lot like a screaming adolph did :)

if howie had that inverted soul patch like hitler, there could be a resemblance. is howard dean a 'boy from brazil'?

lunacydetector 12 years, 4 months ago

that's a great idea l_eustacy. lawn chairs formed in a circle facing out within the roundabout. naw, sitting in lawnchairs watching the cars go by would be more appealing to the oldster crowd.

Ceallach 12 years, 4 months ago

blueharley: Thanks for the list of positive things available to today's kids and or their families in the Lawrence area. My family has and still does enjoyed most of the facilities you mentioned. The YSI Sports Complex is definitely an improvements to the fields where my children played softball.

craigers 12 years, 4 months ago

beatrice, I heard that we might get another drive-in movie theater around here. Maybe right outside of Lawrence or something like that. It could have been just speculation from my friends, but that is what I heard. It is possible.

hawkrew 12 years, 4 months ago

The problem with a brand new theatre in Lawrence would be the arm and a leg price you would have to pay to get in. I think that its like $6.25 for a student right now at Hollywood if I am not mistaken and that's bad enough. But when I have to drop $30 to take my wife and maybe get some popcorn...I just can't justify going.

hawkrew 12 years, 4 months ago

I was addressing a new theatre possibility, not the drive-in, which would be sweet if I could afford to drive to it.

Carmenilla 12 years, 4 months ago

We frequent drive-ins in KCMO...Our favorite, The Boulevard, just closed for the season due to flooding.

Back to the question, YES, Lawrence is a great place for young people. We have so many parks and open areas for children to play. There are multiple swimming facilities. The Arts Center, Prairie Park Nature Center are a only a couple of places to go with your child.

I remember the days of Planet Pinball and even Putt-Putt and the roller rink. They were really struggling at the end. No one was frequenting these places. With home video game systems, the arcade has become obsolete. And personally, I prefer activities that don't cost a lot. Or are free. Do we need to spend money to have fun?

Yes, this town is not perfect. But it offers a safe and friendly environment for our kids to enjoy. Our daughter can walk down the block to play with her friends and we don't worry too much. There are so many good people here.

You would never know that there are good people here though when you read some of the comments on this board. When you contribute only negativity you are only going to get it back tenfold. Some of these posters need to seriously re-evaluate what they are contributing with their hatred and vitriole and sarcasm. What a sad bunch of hateful lonely people you must be.....And it if you hate this place so much what keeps you here? This isn't a rhetorical question and I'm not saying "love it or leave it". Seriously though, if its so bad why do you stay?

Carmenilla 12 years, 4 months ago

And thats maybe the reason they post....To let everyone know how miserable they are, I guess. Heck compared to you folks down south we are living in a paradise. Just talked to my Texas cousins. They are going back to Houston in a couple of days. How scary it must have been for them to be displaced with an infant and another on the way! Glad you are well, OMB.

I was gone for a bit and am glad to be back. The last leg of my vacation was spent in NYC. Lawrence has never looked (or smelled) more appealing comparatively!

Carmenilla 12 years, 4 months ago

blue73harley, the Boulevard may not come back due to this rash of bad flooding. But when it is up and running its a glorious co-mingling of all kinds of folks. Most are there with the kids and a contraband cooler of brewskies. I have never EVER seen anything I would consider to be "rough" go on there. And I'm one of those lily-livered, pollyanna, liberal types....

Oh sorry, I was stereotyping again.

nlf78 12 years, 4 months ago

I miss putt-putt, the skating rink, Aladdins. There used to be CHEAP fun things for kids to do. Now I'm not so sure...we also need another cheap movie theater. Maybe a $2 show or something. I might actually walk in a movie theater if I knew it wasn't costing $8 to go inside, spend $15 on popcorn and soda then to be stuck listening to people talk or watch kids make out during the movies!!

bankboy119 12 years, 4 months ago

Carm...I did leave. Thank the Lord. No, seriously, thank God.

Carmenilla 12 years, 4 months ago

Yeh for us and you, bankboy119!!!

Did you move to western Kansas and find a seat on the BOE?

Whatever the case, our town is better off without ya.....

P.S. click on his past comments and you'll understand m my harsh tone

Topside 12 years, 4 months ago

nlf78, don't forget all the surgeons that are on call in movie theaters nowadays. I have yet to go to a movie in the last 5 years where some self-important slugs' phone didn't go off. And it's not like they just forgot to turn it off either. I have seen people look at their phone for at least 3 rings so they can check the caller ID. Hey JerK, just pick it up! What can be so important that you need to talk in the middle of a movie? Other than being on-call for surgery as I mentioned above.

PS- Have you ever been to a movie where the Usher actually interrupts and tells someone they have a phone call? Nice. And, it's always for some loser kid too. "Is there a Chauncey Rothbottom here?...Call your mom!" They are reluctant to tell you if there is a Tornado outside but please Nerdo, call home.

Topside 12 years, 4 months ago

BTW-Carminella is right, the Boulevard Drive in ROCKS!!!

Liberty 12 years, 4 months ago

Because taxes are too high, I would say no. Lawrence used to be a real nice place to live when the population was closer to 25,000 instead of what it is today and the city was not abusing it's authority given by the people by banning everything to become a global politically correct city. It is getting to be like another big city that has lost that small to medium city appeal and wages are as usual, subpar overall except for KU.

Ceallach 12 years, 4 months ago

Topside: you are so right regarding tornado warnings in theatres. I was in the Cinema Twin, watching "Clash of the Titans," when a tornado hit K-Mart (killing one man). I'm sure it was to avoid panic, ushers came in, shined flashlights on the ceiling, and told us the storm had knocked out the power but they expected it back on shortly. Later we were told that while the storm had passed we were requested to slowly leave the building. We came out to sirens, ambulances, total chaos on the South side of town due to tornado and large hail damage. For the youngsters :) Cinema Twin was located just South of K-Mart.

Although, I don't recall anyone receiving a telephone message either :)

oldfashiongirl 12 years, 4 months ago


You answered my question as to whether I would ever live in Lawrence. Back in 1944 if I had answered "yes" to a proposal I would have moved there and raised a house full of towheaded little Swedes. Instead I moved to Europe and raised 2 towheaded Dutch children.

Are there no churches there? My whole life was spent attending youth activities at church, going to Sunday School, attending worship services, singing in the choir, going on hayrides, weiner roasts, watermelon parties, ice cream socials, and on and on. My current church is open from 7 to 7 and other times if there is a particular event going on. Always a lot of things for kids to do.

I've never drunk a drop of liquor in my life, smoked cigarettes or pot, went to dances, or followed foolish youths who particularly liked to overthrow outdoor johns, as we lived in the country. We visited the elderly in nursing homes and ran errands for those who lived alone. It was a very satisfying life!

To LJWorld: I have scanned all the many topics you have on your Web page and cannot find a listing of churches. Are there any Southern Baptist churches? Any churches at all? I wouldn't want to live there if there weren't any.

linux_chick 12 years, 4 months ago

I was born in Lawrence. I thought it perfect to grow up in and now am anxious to get away.

That's kind of backwards, I suppose.

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